A look inside NFC West teams' wallets

The 2010 NFL season was a tough one for the Arizona Cardinals on the field.

It wasn't nearly as costly as the 2009 season in terms of cash outlays for salaries. Kurt Warner's retirement and the subtraction of several big-money performers -- Anquan Boldin, Antrel Rolle and Karlos Dansby come to mind -- reduced cash costs by nearly $30 million.

The chart, based on salary information ESPN's John Clayton maintains, shows year-over-year cash spending for salaries. The Seattle Seahawks' outlays increased by more than $31 million in part because the team ate salaries, including more than $6.6 million for released receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

The Cardinals' figure for 2010 ranked lowest in the league, down from 12th the previous season, according to Clayton. Seattle's cash spending jumped from 30th in 2009 to 18th last season. The San Francisco 49ers ranked eighth in cash spending last season after signing Patrick Willis and Vernon Davis to new contracts.

The St. Louis Rams' have allocated larger than usual sums for early draft choices in recent seasons. They drafted no lower than second from 2008 through 2010, forcing them to pay large bonuses.

2009-2010 Cash Spending: NFC West Salaries